“Linked to increases in strokes and heart attacks”

On the night of Saturday 26 to Sunday 27 March daylight saving time will return. The Italians will have to advance the hands of the clock by one hour and therefore give up one hour of sleep. According to some studies, shifting the hours forward is linked to serious negative health effects, reports “The Conversation”. Beth Malow, professor of neurology and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, explained that “the annual change to daylight saving time causes an increase in stroke, adolescent heart attacks and sleep deprivation“.

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The difference with solar time

According to the doctor, if in the case of solar time, it is quite easy to go back and can create at most “an imbalance which can take a few weeks to recover”, with regard to the leap forward the effects are decidedly negative. “It’s because the clock time is off by one hour; in other words, it looks like it’s 7am even though our clocks say it’s 8am. So it’s a permanent switch to late morning light for almost eight months, not just for the day of the changeover or a few weeks later. This is particularly remarkable because morning light – says the doctor – is valuable in helping to establish the body’s natural rhythms: it wakes us up and improves alertness”.

“Exposure to light until late in the evening – continues the doctor – delays the cerebral release of melatonin, the hormone that promotes drowsiness. It can interfere with sleep and make us sleep less overall, and the effect can last even after most people get used to losing an hour of sleep at the start of daylight saving time. Because puberty also causes melatonin to be released later at night, which means teens have a delay in the natural cue that helps them fall asleep.

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The “western edge” effect

Geography can also make a difference in how daylight saving time affects people. A study has shown that people living at the western end of a time zone, who receive light later in the morning and light later in the evening, get less sleep than their counterparts at the eastern end of a time zone. a time zone.

This study found that West Frontier residents had higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer, as well as lower per capita income and higher health care costs. students. Other research has shown that rates of certain other cancers are highest at the western end of a time zone.

Scientists believe that these health problems may result from a combination of chronic sleep deprivation and “circadian misalignment.” Circadian mismatch refers to a mismatch in synchronization between our biological rhythms and the outside world. In other words, the rhythm of daily work, school routines, or sleep is based on the clock, rather than sunrise and sunset.


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